The Gifts We Are Given


Going to Sunday school at the Baptist Church. ...

On Sunday, I had the privilege of attending a little church in Mount Brydges, a small town near where I live. I wanted to be there to witness the christening of my little nephew Ethan, an adorable infant I sometimes get to babysit. He is my fourth great nephew and he has a big brother Joshua. My fifth great nephew was born that very morning, and given the name Brayden. The other two little guys are Finley and Jacob.  I don’t have any great nieces yet, but I am just thrilled that these five  boys are close enough in age to become really good friends. Such was the case in the generation before them. My own two children were born a number of years before my older sister Marsha’s daughter Sarah,and she was a few years ahead of  the mob which followed. The three of them didn’t have the advantage of having a cousin of the same age to chum with at parties, at family events and even for some who lived close, at high school. The thing about cousins is that they are often as much loved as a sister or a brother would be, without having to put up with them all the time. In fact, two of them, Andrea and Carl were so close that they actually did sometimes fight like siblings. Fortunately they’ve outgrown it (at least as far as I know.)

So it was,that in a rather short period of time, my  mother and father went from being the grandparents of  three, to the grandparents of fourteen. They were positively delighted! Just imagine though, if each of  us eight kids had been blessed with a family as large as the one we were raised in. Perhaps Mom and Dad would have been a little less excited after buying the sixty fourth birthday gift of the year.There is no doubt about it, some of us would have loved to have had more than the one or two children we were blessed with, but the circumstances of life got in the way. My having only two kids, who were older than all the rest, allowed me to be available as a kind of auxiliary parent figure, at various times in my life when opportunity presented itself.  This is what I am again enjoying from time to time as a great aunt. Funny, how we get to call ourselves “great” when all we need to do to achieve it is wait for our sisters’ and brothers’ kids to have kids. Thanks Ryan, Sheri, Andrea, and Alison! I couldn’t have achieved greatness without your help,and your spouse’s help too of course! This big mob of nieces and nephews of mine quickly modeled themselves after their parents’ close and loving relationships, and over the years they have shared in one another’s  joys and sorrows much as siblings would.

I am so thankful for this, because I really do believe that we can be what we need to be for whoever  needs us, whenever they need us, in the strength that God gives us to do it.We need to follow the example set for us in Psalm 68:5 that says that God is a father to the fatherless and a defender of  widows. Using the principal of caring for others in whatever ways you can  lends itself to a full and happy life. If you are wondering what needs there could possibly be that you can fill, because you don’t know anybody that needs your help, then you just haven’t been paying attention!  You don’t have to look far to see something you can do; it doesn’t need to be huge. It could be helping an exhausted Mom who needs a free sitter, or taking the time to let a child you know show you his latest accomplishment. Listening to a saxophone solo might show some genuine sacrificial love on your part and you will be blessed by it too, for  “Truly the fragrance of the rose remains on the hand of him that gives it.” Now a personal quote  for my nephew Carl, whose earliest saxophone performances are the ones I hold dearest in my memory “Truly, the sweetness of the music will be remembered in later years.”

These funny stories about children in church came across my desk  just in time to share them with you today. I think back on the christening  service of  last  Sunday with a smile.

The pastor was quoting First Corinthians 13:11,  just as the noise level reached a crescendo due to a group of loud but happy children, some of them having great problems staying in their seats. But not my nephews! They were as good as gold!

I Corinthians 13:11 says “When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child, but when I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

A little child in church for the first time watched as the

ushers passed the offering plates. When they neared the
pew where he sat, the youngster piped up so that everyone
could hear: “Don’t pay for me Daddy, I’m under five.”

A little boy was attending his first wedding. After the
service, his cousin asked him, “How many women can a
man marry?” “Sixteen,” the boy responded.  His cousin
was amazed that he had an answer so quickly. “How do
you know that?”  “Easy,” the little boy said. “All you have
to do is add it up, like the Bishop said: 4 better, 4 worse,
4 richer, 4 poorer.”

After a church service on Sunday morning, a young boy
suddenly announced to his mother, “Mom, I’ve decided to
become a Pastor when I grow up.”   “That’s okay with us,
but what made you decide that?” “Well,” said the little
boy, “I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I
figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell, than to sit
and listen.”

A boy was watching his father, a Pastor, write a
sermon.” How do you know what to say?” he asked.
“Why, God tells me.” “Oh, then why do you keep
crossing things out?”

A little girl became restless as the Preacher’s sermon
dragged on and on.  Finally, she leaned over to her mother
and whispered, “Mommy, if we give him the money now,
will he let us go?”

Terri asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of
their favorite Bible stories.  She was puzzled by Kyle’s
picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she
asked him which story it was meant to represent. “The
flight to Egypt,” said Kyle.  “I see … And that must be
Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus,” Ms. Terri said. “But who’s
the fourth person?” “Oh, that’s Pontius – the Pilot.

Pastor Dave tells us, “After a worship service at First
Baptist Church in a city in Kentucky, a mother with a
fidgety seven-year old boy told me how she finally got her
son to sit still and be quiet.  About halfway through the
sermon, she leaned over and whispered, ‘If you don’t be
quiet, Pastor Dave is going to lose his place and will have
to start his sermon all over again!’   “It worked.”

Have a happy day today! Call your Mom, visit a friend, send a card, or volunteer. Do something for somebody. Be blessed!

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